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New study aims to improve the health and well-being of Boise State students

Allison Corona photo
Allison Corona photo.

The mental health of college students across the nation is of great concern, perhaps now more than ever. Kelly Rossetto, associate professor in the Department of Communication and Media, and Eric Martin, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, are conducting research to better understand and support undergraduate students at Boise State. As part of a grant through the Department of Communication and Media and the Division of Research and Economic Development, their latest report examines the stress levels and resilience of nearly 700 students surveyed during the 2019-20 academic year.

“The report addresses the current student climate to better understand their needs, which might be especially important now that we are in the midst of a crisis unlike anything we have seen in most of our lives,” Rossetto said.

According to their report, the majority of students reported functioning at moderate to high levels in regards to overall well-being. However, a small but significant number of students could be classified as at-risk and in need of additional support.

Rossetto and Martin collaborated with undergraduate and graduate students, who helped collect and analyze data. The study includes insights into student experiences, feelings and behaviors, and it provides Boise State-specific information that can be used to tailor university efforts to better meet student needs. While there are many national surveys that assess the health and wellness of college student populations, which can be helpful for practitioners, the professors believe their findings can bring about change and improvements on this campus more effectively.

The two professors outlined a number of recommendations that can better serve students in need. The list includes focusing on under-supported student groups when conducting university-specific surveys and programs, and offering courses on resilience to empower students.

“Addressing student mental health concerns and supporting students through their college experience should make a positive impact on their wellness, academic performance and overall retention,” said Rossetto.

The full student stress and resilience report can be downloaded here.